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Tec Talk With Denis Istomin

Tec Talk

Istomin© AFP/Getty ImagesDenis Istomin strings his racquets at about 23-24 kilos.

As part of Tecnifibre's ‘Tec Talk’ series, Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin discusses stringing with

Do you string your racquets for practice sessions as well as matches?
When I come to a tournament, I try out my racquets and get a feel for the tournament's balls. After the first practice I decide on the tension at which to string the racquets, depending on the balls and weather conditions. I need to be at 100% for a match so I string a lot of racquets.

How many racquets do you string before a match?
At this tournament i've already strung seven.

How often during a match do you like to change racquets?
It depends not the conditions but normally I play with racquets until the strings break.

Can you recall the worst time during a match that you've had a string break on you?
The worst is when it happens at the important points. For example it can be 6-6 in the tiebreak and the string breaks after your serve. Sometimes that has happened to me.

What do you do if you break a string? What's your strategy?
It's difficult to play on the baseline with a broken racquet because there's no control and the ball is flying every which way. Every player tries to get to the net to end the point and to apply pressure on the opponent.

And when you break a string during a match, is it usually in the same area of the racquet where the string breaks?
It depends, but normally it breaks in the middle of the racquet.

If you happen to win a point when you've broken a string, do you feel that it changes the match?
I'm really happy to win the point but it affects the opponent more. He knows that the point is his to lose so if he doesn't win it he might feel down on himself. It's very important to win that point.

How much money do you spend a year on stringing?
Last year I spent $1,500. It's not that much, actually.

Do you ever string your own racquet or do you have it done on site?
On site.

What tension do you normally string your racquet at?
It depends on the surface. On hard court I string at 23-24 kilos; on grass, one kilo less; on clay, two kilos less.

Have you ever made a major change in how you string your racquet in your career?
In the beginning I strung at a very high tension and had problems making winners so I adjusted it down. Throughout the years I've reduced it and now I've been playing at 23-24 kilos for about four years. I feel that it's the best tension for my game.

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